TIM 24 Hour Debates — US Elections Debate #2

Why I Am Sticking by My Candidate


The Following is a LIVE online debate.

The debate is between one of the most prominent American Muslim Republican Trump supporter, and one of the most prominent American Muslim Clinton supporter.

Updates to the debate will be made daily.

UPDATES: (all times in USA EST)

10/29/2016 11:30am Both parties submit opening statements.

10/27/16 12:15pm Both parties receive questions.  Answers are due by October 29th at 11am.

10/29/16 12:15pm Both parties asked to respond to the other’s opening statement and ask two questions.  Answers are due by October 31st at 11am.

10/31/16 9:00am Saba Ahmed response to opponent opening statement

10/31/16 10:52am Debbie Almontaser response to opponent opening statement

10/31/16 11:00am Both parties sent questions posed by opponents

11/2/16 11:54am Saba Ahmed responds to Debbie’s questions

11/2/16 1:59pm Debbie Almontaser responds to Saba’s questions

11/2/16 4:28pm Saba Ahmed responds to Debbie

11/3/16 10:34am Debbie Almontaser responds to Saba

11/3/16 3:31pm Both parties sent questions posed  by opponents.

11/5/16 10:00am Debbie responds to Saba’s questions

11/5/16 12:30pm Saba responds to Debbie’s questions 

11/7/16 4:00pm Debbie makes closing statement

11/8/16 9:00am Saba makes closing statement

INTRODUCTION:

This year’s presidential election season has been polarizing and rather unpredictable. We have seen a race between a political newcomer and a seasoned politician, whose supporters fall on extreme ends of the social and political spectrum. We’ve also seen that supporters of both candidates have an intense dislike of the opposition.

November 8th is fast approaching and no doubt, many new voters will be casting ballots, and this highly contentious season will come to an end. Democrats, Republicans, third-party supporters and those undecided will come together to decide who will become the next leader of the free world.

We at TIM seek to bring Muslim voices to the fore this election season. To this end, we have featured Democratic and Republican views during the primaries as well as various Muslim opinions through our Perspectives Series. Now, we bring a live online debate between a prominent Muslim Republican, Saba Ahmed and Democrat Debbie Almontaser.

PARTICIPANTS in the debate:

 

Saba Ahmed is founder and president of the Republican Muslim Coalition. She tweets at @SabaRMC
Saba Ahmed is founder and president of the Republican Muslim Coalition. She tweets at @SabaRMC
Dr. Debbie Almontaser Emerge USA National Board Member
Dr. Debbie Almontaser
Emerge USA National Board Member She tweets at @DebbiAlmontaser

Moderated by TIM Editors

RULES and GUIDELINES:

The following are the rules and guidelines that both parties agree to prior to joining the live online debate.

You are participating in a moderated online debate about the US Election. The following serves as the rules and guidelines for the debate that will take place on October 29 – November 12 online.

On October 27 at 6pm, TIM Editors will ask you both to submit an opening statement on why you are sticking to your candidate.  Your response should be no more than 350 words.    Please note we will cut off words after 350 words.

This will be due by 11am October 29.  Deadline will be strictly enforced and we will state anything not completed by the timeframe  as “no comment.”

On October 29 at 3:30pm TIM editors will send allow for you to begin submitting your reaction to your opponents opening statement and submit two questions to your opponent to respond..

Each question will have it’s own word limit ranging from 50 to 250 words.  TIM Editors will prompt you with deadlines and word counts for each response.

Your opponent will be given the opportunity to respond the questions and they will be published as soon as they are emailed in, each question cannot exceed more than a certain number of words.  Once both responses are emailed in, TIM editors may pose new questions or ask debaters to pose new questions for their opponent to respond to.  Both debaters will be prompted at the same time.  Time limit and word count will always be instructed via email.  Both will also be given the opportunity to offer rebuttals in response to their opponent.

TIM editors will then ask both debaters to submit closing statements.  We will prompt with deadlines and word counts and reminders.  These rules may be modified at the discretion of TIM Editors and with agreement of both debating parties.

OPENING STATEMENTS MADE

QUESTION:  Why are you sticking by your candidate?

No more than 500 words permitted.

Update: Opening Statements submitted to moderator October 29th, 2016 11:30am

Debbie Almontaser Opening Statement

Dr. Debbie Almontaser Emerge USA National Board Member I am standing by my candidate Hillary Clinton because I think she is the most qualified and fit candidate to lead this country. She has the political experience to run the country and she has shown herself to be measured, calm, and competent in the face of a Trump campaign that has been filled with bigotry and wanton obscenity. Inclusivity, acceptance, and the celebration of diversity have been the hallmarks of Hillary Clinton – her campaign team is among the most diverse and inclusive I have ever seen. What’s more, she has included Muslims in senior positions within her team – often only to be attacked by the right wing media – when it would have been far less controversial for her to avoid it, Huma Abedin is the most prominent case in point.

Trump meanwhile has used fear, hate and bigotry to further his cause. His campaign has been filled with lies and he has surrounded himself with advisers who are known to be Islamophobes, racists and misogynists – As a Muslim American, these are realities I cannot ignore as much as I wish I could, and I do not think anyone else can either. I know that there are many Muslims who are wary of a Clinton presidency, but to vote for Trump is to simply destroy our futures and the futures of our children – it will completely undo the decades of social, political, economic and cultural progress we have made as a community in this country.

Even if we were to ignore the two personalities for a moment, and simply reflect on the two futures on offer in this election – it is abundantly clear that one future offers acceptance, diversity, and equal rights whilst the other offers us hate, misogyny and division. Should Trump become president, it will give rise to a public discourse that is predicated on bigotry, racism, and xenophobia – a discourse that has largely remained on the margins of our society for decades will become mainstream once more with far reaching consequences – from social tensions to open institutional racism. We have already seen this discourse simmering closer to the mainstream as the election campaigns have progressed, so for anyone to deny it would be to demonstrate a gratuitous level of obtuseness about what Trump actually means – this election is by no means a mere personality contest.

The inexorable rise of Islamophobia, misogyny, racism, and xenophobia throughout America in recent years is clear for everyone to see, and voting for Trump would give fresh oxygen for such dark forces to become the norm. Just the campaign alone of Trump has wreaked a huge amount of damage on the public and civic lives of millions of Americans, who feel threatened and afraid, whether it is Muslims, African Americans, Latinos, LGBT, disabled, or women. Such an extremely polarized society is bad for everyone and as Muslims we must stem the tide before it is too late, that means turning up on Election Day and voting for Hillary Clinton. #ImWithHer

Saba Ahmed Opening Statement

Saba Ahmed is founder and president of the Republican Muslim Coalition. She tweets at @SabaRMCI am standing by my candidate, Donald J. Trump because he is the best choice for America in 2016 Elections. Many people are surprised to see Muslim Republicans supporting their Presidential Nominee. Yet, he is the only candidate who can help us get out of the mess that we are in and support Conservative values. He is a successful businessman who can turn around the economy, lower taxes and help create jobs in America. He will make America Great Again.

Trump’s entertainment industry background has not helped him during the campaign as he tends to make overt statements without thinking them through. Clinton on the other hand is a polished politician who knows how to turn out the Democratic base. Had it been anyone other than Trump, she would not have seen the recent polling leads. But despite everything, I will be voting for Donald Trump on November 8th, 2016 in Virginia.

I believe Donald Trump is strong on national security, defense, foreign policies, economy, trade, etc. We need Republican leadership in the White House to restore American exceptionalism around the world. Obama Administration’s weak foreign policies have led to the rise of ISIS and destabilized the Middle East. We cannot afford such reckless behavior from our Commander in Chief. Secretary Clinton was primarily responsible for overthrowing Libyan government without any strategy for how she’ll deal with rebels after killing Qaddafi. We lost our American Ambassador in Libya as a result of her disastrous policies in the Middle East. Americans deserve better than this.

Donald Trump may not have been the ideal Republican candidate but he has surrounded himself with GOP insiders who can turn around America. While he may have made statements against Muslims and Islam in the past, we must engage within his campaign and Administration to change his views. Sometimes, God uses certain people to raise the religion of Islam. I believe Trump has been called to bring Islam to the forefront in Presidential politics. GOP desperately needs the help of Muslims to ensure the safety and security of all Americans. I hope you will join me in supporting Donald Trump and Mike Pence this Election. Thank you and God Bless!

Saba Ahmed responds to Debbie opening statement

No more than 250 words for a response and to be received by 10/31/16 5pm

Response received 10/31/16 9:00am

Saba Ahmed is founder and president of the Republican Muslim Coalition. She tweets at @SabaRMCIn reading what Debbie has to say in response to her opening statement, I believe that she is wrong because Clinton is currently being investigated by the FBI for various federal crimes. I find it alarming that Democrats are using fear tactics to scare people about Donald Trump. I strongly disagree with her that a vote for Trump will destroy our future and undo decades of social, political, economic and cultural progress that Muslim Americans have made in the United States. Acceptance, diversity and equal rights are guaranteed to us all through the U.S. Constitution and many federal laws. We must engage within the Republican Party to advocate for our Conservative values. Instead of complaining and reacting negatively, we must support Donald Trump win the White House and be a part of his Administration to Make America Great Again. Inshallah!

Debbie Almontaser responds to Saba opening statement

No more than 250 words for a response and to be received by 10/31/16 5pm

Response received 10/31/16 10:50am

Dr. Debbie Almontaser Emerge USA National Board Member Muslim-Americans must show foresight when they show up to vote in a few days, and we must also be realistic about what we face in this election, and how it will affect us as a community. The notion that Donald Trump represents conservative values is simply not true – and if he does – it certainly is not a school of conservatism that sits well with Muslims, or indeed any other faith-based minority (or majority) community in the US. There is nothing conservative about his vile misogyny, sexism and racial aggravations, nor is there anything conservative about his rhetoric which has led minorities of all kinds feeling under siege. Muslim-Americans overwhelmingly understand this reality; it was evident in the campaign to significantly enhance voter registration – up by more than 300,000 since the 2012 elections according to CAIR. Those of us who are still undecided need to look beyond the personalities for a moment and understand what is at stake in terms of our progress as a community – because the reality is that the two candidates have become a symbol of forces which are now bigger than themselves. A Trump presidency would amount to an acute threat to our communities, our social spaces, our schools, and our politics – the way we interact with our wider society will change for the worse. A Clinton presidency offers us the opportunity to continue with the progress we have made, enhance our voice as a community, and perhaps even further cement our place in American politics.

Both Parties Post Questions to Opponents

Parties have until Nov 2nd, 5pm to respond and no more than 400 words for each question.

Update: 10/31/16 11:00am Saba Ahmed poses questions to Debbie Almontaser

Saba Ahmed is founder and president of the Republican Muslim Coalition. She tweets at @SabaRMC1. Debbie, why would you support Democrats when they advocate for abortion, gay marriage and other liberal values that are in direct conflict with Conservative Islamic values?

2. Debbie, Clinton hiring a few token Muslims do not change their weak Anti-Muslim foreign policies that are destabilizing the Islamic world. How do you think Clinton policies would differ from Obama?

 

Update 10/31/16 11:00am Debbie Almontaser poses questions to Saba Ahmed

Dr. Debbie Almontaser Emerge USA National Board Member Saba, I have found several assertions in your statement to be questionable; it is known that Trump has surrounded himself with advisers who are known to be racists or Islamophobes – certainly not people who can ‘turn America around’. I also found your belief that Trump “has been called to bring Islam to the forefront in presidential politics” to be quite tragic and completely void of even any semblance of reality. I have two key questions which I would like to pose to you:

  1. Saba, how can you justify the morally repugnant forces that a Trump presidency will unleash? Whether it is racial and ethnic tensions, or the rise of bigotry and hate in mainstream discourse which have already found a place in Trump’s campaign?

2. Saba, how do you justify Trump’s position on trade, defence, and foreign policy? When he was against the Iranian nuclear deal, favors tax cuts only for the rich, and has been on record saying he “would bomb the shit out of them” and has glorified mass executions using bullets “dipped in pig’s blood?

Saba Ahmed Responds to Debbie Almontaser’s Questions

Update: 11/2/16 11:52am Saba Ahmed responds to Debbie Almontaser’s questions

Debbie Almontaser asks:  1.  Saba, how can you justify the morally repugnant forces that a Trump presidency will unleash? Whether it is racial and ethnic tensions, or the rise of bigotry and hate in mainstream discourse which have already found a place in Trump’s campaign?

Saba Ahmed is founder and president of the Republican Muslim Coalition. She tweets at @SabaRMCSaba responds: Trump wants to be a President for all Americans regardless of race, religion, ethnic origins, etc. Despite all the negativity thrown at him, he is back in the polls leading against Hillary Clinton. Americans are fed up of career politicians making empty promises. The real immoral forces were unleashed by Democrats who used racial divisions to enact policies against vast majority of Americans. When Obama was elected, less than two states allowed gay marriage. Today, all 50 states are required by law to legalize same sex marriages. Abortions are at an all-time high with millions of babies killed each year. Hillary is pro-choice up to the last trimester, which is considered manslaughter in the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths. I don’t understand how any morally conscious Muslim can support Pro-Choice policies. We are giving up on our core traditional family values while supporting Democrats who are at the forefront of liberal policies destroying America from within. I hope Muslim Americans can take a strong hold of their faith and defend Islamic Conservative Ideals. Inshallah!

Debbie Almontaser asks:  Saba, how do you justify Trump’s position on trade, defence, and foreign policy? When he was against the Iranian nuclear deal, favors tax cuts only for the rich, and has been on record saying he “would bomb the shit out of them” and has glorified mass executions using bullets “dipped in pig’s blood?

Saba responds:  Trump wants to put “America First” and strength America’s defense and foreign policies which have been weakened significantly under the Obama Administration. Middle East, from Afghanistan all the way to Libya was much more peaceful before 2009, when Obama/Hillary took over. Today, we have ISIS which operates in 32 countries and has destroyed four Muslim countries (Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen). The US Air Force regularly bombs seven countries in the world for any reason whatsoever. These countries are Iraq, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia. Drone strikes against Muslim countries have increased exponentially under Democrats. They may sugarcoat and welcome Muslims all they want in the United States, but behind the scenes they’ve wreaked havoc in the Islamic world.

Trump is against billion dollar ransom cash payments to Iran. He does not want to provide them with nuclear weapons to be used against us in the future. He wants to renegotiate trade deals harming American workers. He favors less taxes for everyone to spur job growth and economic recovery. He does not always come across politically correct, but most Americans consider him to be straight forward and honest with a can-do attitude. I look forward to voting for him next Tuesday and hope you will consider giving Republicans a chance to restore American leadership domestically and internationally. God Bless!

Debbie Almontaser Responds to Saba Ahmed’s Questions

Update: 11/2/16 1:59pm Debbie Almontaser responds to Saba Ahmed’s questions

Saba Ahmed asks: Debbie, why would you support Democrats when they advocate for abortion, gay marriage and other liberal values that are in direct conflict with Conservative Islamic values?

Dr. Debbie Almontaser Emerge USA National Board Member Debbie responds: I find this question to be immature. If I may pose the same question in the opposite direction; “why would you support the Republicans when they advocate for anti-immigration, misogyny and other ‘conservative’ values that are in direct conflict with Conservative Islamic values?” – then one would rightly describe this question as problematic, because you simply cannot frame everything as a clash of faith or ideology. It is simply absurd to pick out these issues as amounting to a conflict of faith or ideology – should we go even further – should we now conclude that the vilification of Mexicans, or indeed any immigrants, is a conservative value? Or perhaps even the groping of women? And is that too not against ‘Conservative Islamic values’? As for abortion, it is a complex issue with plenty of nuance within Islam. We live in a democracy where we are members of a wider and diverse society and as Muslims we are instructed to live by and respect the laws and customs of the society we live in – that is not some revolutionary or modern idea, the growth of Islam throughout the world has always subscribed to this dynamic. Respect for nuance and difference is a fundamental dimension of Islam. As Muslims we are fully entitled to live a conservative lifestyle if we wish, ‘liberal’ (or conservative) values are not imposed on us. I support Hillary Clinton because she is the only candidate who understands nuance and who respects diversity, difference, acceptance, and co-existence – whether you are a conservative Muslim, a woman, a homosexual, or indeed an immigrant. The same simply cannot be said of Donald Trump. Clinton is the candidate that offers us the dignity and freedom to practice our faith in the way that we want – Trump on the other hand is only interested in moulding Islam into becoming something that is only acceptable to him, and ensuring that all Muslims conform to his version. For Muslims to vote for Trump is simply a selfish move. As Muslims, we should appreciate the freedoms we have, whether it is religious freedom or any other, and we need to protect those freedoms. This is an election where we must put the collective ahead of ourselves.

Saba Ahmed asks: Debbie, Clinton hiring a few token Muslims do not change their weak Anti-Muslim foreign policies that are destabilizing the Islamic world. How do you think Clinton policies would differ from Obama?

Debbie responds: As Muslims, we must understand that the reason why we are so unable to influence foreign policy in this country is because we simply have not made the investment in civic engagement. Whilst political engagement and social enterprising investments from Muslims have increased in America, we still have a long way to go. Had we been a community that made the necessary investments in civic engagement, we would have been in a far better position to influence foreign policy. So on foreign policy, Muslims really need to take some responsibility and acknowledge that we have been passive in this area for far too long. As for the claim that Clinton’s foreign policy in anti-Muslim, my immediate response is; can it really be worse than Trump’s? A man who has used openly racist language when talking about his foreign policy goals vis a vis Muslim countries. Trump has openly used such language as “bombing the shit out of them”, and glorified obscene fictitious stories about killing Muslims with bullets “dipped in pigs blood”. The reality is that Trump would not only be hawkish, but in the process, he will give birth to a new racist discourse that will practically glorify killing and glorify war – and this in turn will have catastrophic consequences for us Muslims here in the America. There is simply no quick route to influencing foreign policy, and it certainly isn’t by voting Donald Trump. To influence foreign policy we must build our influence by being actively engaged civically, politically, and socially – we need to increase our voter registration and make political engagement a permanent feature of our social lives – we have a unique chance of making such a powerful civic statement in this election – and only then will we be able to leverage our strengths as a community and begin to influence our elected officials, our institutions and indeed our foreign policy.

Saba Ahmed Responds to Debbie Almontaser

Update: 11/2/16 4:28pm Saba Ahmed responds to Debbie Almontaser

Saba Ahmed is founder and president of the Republican Muslim Coalition. She tweets at @SabaRMCThanks Debbie, you seem to deflect my questions and give immature idealistic responses. This election is definitely a clash of faith and ideology. Trump has brought the immigration debate to the forefront and wants to keep America secure, safe and strong. Everyone in this country must live by and respect the laws and customs of the country we live in, including people who have crossed our borders illegally. While America is a melting pot of diversity and differences, we must accept and co-exist lawfully. The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment gives us Religious Freedoms to practice our faith any way we want and provides us with dignity and respect of all human beings. No President can ever take our God given rights from us.

Voting for Trump is strategically very important for the Muslim American community. All politics are local and I agree we cannot influence domestic or foreign policies in this country without strong investments in civic engagement. But it cannot come at the expense of 90% investment in Democrats and less than 10% in Republicans. The return on investment we are getting from Trump and GOP is exactly what we have asked for. We cannot blame them for their ignorance of Islam and Muslims without taking responsibility for not educating and investing in them. We must be actively engaged civically, politically, and socially at all levels of county, state and federal elections. Voter registration drives are a good first step but it’s the least we can do. We must lobby for our special interests and have an on-going presence at Capitol Hill and all 50 State Capitols across the United States. This election has highlighted the need for Muslim American voices especially in Republican circles. I hope you will join me in supporting GOP. Thank you!

Debbie Almontaser responds to Saba  Ahmed

Update: 11/3/16 10:34am Debbie Almontaser responds to Saba Ahmed

Dr. Debbie Almontaser Emerge USA National Board Member There is nothing idealistic about trying to avoid a candidate who espouses xenophobia, sexism and vitriol – it is as pragmatic as you can get. To vote Trump because of abortion or gay rights is short-sighted – Islamic jurisprudence endorses the position that you may vote for a candidate who has different views to yourself if it leads to the greater good – also the position of The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America. Muslims will differ with the Democrats on abortion, it is also a complex issue within Islamic jurisprudence with plenty of nuance – but does that mean we opt to vote for someone who promotes hate and endangers wider society?

Voting for someone with appalling views about women, Muslims, and immigrants and believing that they can do good for our communities is being idealistic, and frankly delusional. Religious freedoms are already being violated on a daily basis as a result of his rhetoric; the number of anti-Muslim attacks has increased drastically, Muslim children feel threatened at school, as do Muslim women. These are real problems Muslims face daily, and there is nothing “idealistic” about fighting against it. It is grotesque to assume there is no link between Trump and the rise in Islamophobia when all the evidence is there.

Our civic engagement with Clinton over the years has led to incremental progress. She has reached out to Muslims throughout her career, and it is because of the fruition of that relationship that Muslims find themselves with an important voice in this election. Should she win, we will be empowered considerably, and the civic investments we have made with her will reach a new plateau, allowing us to become a much stronger influencer. It is reckless to vote Trump now when we have made consistent progress over the past few years.

Both Parties Post Questions to Opponents.

Parties have until Nov 5th at noon to respond and no more than 400 words for each question.

Update: 11/3/16 3:31pm Saba Ahmed poses questions to Debbie Almontaser

Saba Ahmed is founder and president of the Republican Muslim Coalition. She tweets at @SabaRMC1. Debbie, How will you react if Donald Trump wins the White House on November 8th, 2016? Do Muslim Democrats have a backup plan for civic engagement incase Clinton loses?

2. Debbie, Doesn’t Islam teach us to repel evil with good? Why aren’t we doing Dawah to Republicans and Democrats? Both seem to be killing Muslims indiscriminately all over the Middle East; isn’t it our responsibility to invest in changing US foreign policies towards the Islamic world?
Update 11/3/16 3:31pm Debbie Almontaser poses questions to Saba Ahmed

Dr. Debbie Almontaser Emerge USA National Board Member 1. Saba, Donald Trump has vilified Gold Star parents such as the Khans, stated Ghazala Khan was not allowed to speak, has accused Obama of not being born in America, he has attacked our allies abroad, has referred to women in the most obscene manner, and is on record boasting about sexually assaulting women. Do you consider this man to be a better role model to our children and future generations in America than Hillary Clinton?

2. Saba, Donald Trump has openly stated that “Islam hates us” – thereby creating an ‘us vs them’ narrative. He called for a Muslim ban and to surveil American Mosques? How do you reconcile this with your Muslim faith and the fact that you are a Muslim living in America? Is he clearly not telling you that you are unwelcome?

 

Debbie Almontaser Responds to Saba Ahmed’s Questions

Update: 11/5/16 10:00am Debbie Almontaser responds to Saba Ahmed’s questions

Saba asks: Debbie, How will you react if Donald Trump wins the White House on November 8th, 2016? Do Muslim Democrats have a backup plan for civic engagement incase Clinton loses?

Dr. Debbie Almontaser Emerge USA National Board Member Debbie responds: Saba, to corner me and Muslims Democrats to solely support Trump is an unsophisticated political strategy. I have yet to hear of Trump meeting with Muslim leaders anywhere in the US. Hillary on the other hand has met with numerous Muslim leaders and has also had seven Muslims participate in the DNC. Have you personally met him and spoken with him? I have had the opportunity to meet Hillary and talk to her about my concerns for our community. I do not doubt that it is possible for Donald Trump to win the elections. I would not be bothering to campaign for Hillary if I did not think that Donald Trump could emerge victorious. The prospect of a Trump presidency is very real, and that is why I think it is so important for Muslims to vote with a united voice. The reality is that the majority of Muslim civic engagement has been with the Democrats and Hillary Clinton has always been a core part of that engagement – so it makes very little sense for Muslims to now back Trump when we have been making long and protracted civic investments with Hillary. It only splits our voice and thereby makes our voice that much weaker in American politics. If majority of Muslims unite behind Hillary Clinton, it would be a huge statement of intent coming from our community, it would take our civic engagements to a whole new level. And above all, we will yield returns on our civic investments. We will finally be in a position to positively influence the highest levels of policy making and fuse our political leadership with Islamic ethics. If Donald Trump wins, as Muslims we will be left with little leverage even with prominent Muslim Republicans in the party, but it is only logical that as Muslims we should promote national unity and mutual respect for one another in what will be an extremely divided country – and that will be the case no matter who wins. Calling for mutual respect, understanding, and working for the common good will be our response if Donald Trump wins – but that will also be our response if Hillary Clinton wins, because we know that this has been a divisive campaign and the nation is very polarized.

Saba asks: Debbie, Doesn’t Islam teach us to repel evil with good? Why aren’t we doing Dawah to Republicans and Democrats? Both seem to be killing Muslims indiscriminately all over the Middle East; isn’t it our responsibility to invest in changing US foreign policies towards the Islamic world?

Debbie responds: The simple fact is that as a community most of our civic engagements have been with the Democrats. The reasons for that are complex and historical. A decade under the Bush presidency where we went to war with two Muslim countries resulted in most Muslims becoming disenfranchised with the Republican party, and what followed was a consistent period of civic engagements with the Democrats. That does not mean we are not promoting Islamic ethics to America at large. The simple fact is that we would be able to project Islamic ethics far more effectively if we had a stronger civic voice, that is now a genuine opportunity if Muslims united behind Hillary Clinton. The Muslim community’s relationship with Clinton has been evolving for some time and it has achieved consistent and incremental progress. If we help her to win the White House, there is simply no doubt that we will be in a unique position to influence national and foreign policy. If Trump wins the White House, the idea of Muslim influence on national and foreign policy issues will be completely non-existent – that is a fact. It is completely illogical to suggest that Muslims should influence policy civically and then vote for the candidate whom we know will not allow us to do that.

 

Saba Ahmed Responds to Debbie Almontaser’s Questions

Update: 11/5/16 12:30pm Saba Ahmed responds to Debbie Almontaser’s questions

Debbie asks: Saba, Donald Trump has vilified Gold Star parents such as the Khans, stated Ghazala Khan was not allowed to speak, has accused Obama of not being born in America, he has attacked our allies abroad, has referred to women in the most obscene manner, and is on record boasting about sexually assaulting women. Do you consider this man to be a better role model to our children and future generations in America than Hillary Clinton?

Saba Ahmed is founder and president of the Republican Muslim Coalition. She tweets at @SabaRMCSaba responds: No one in this world is perfect. Trump has been a role model for many people around the world. His successful businesses in various industries have helped him earn the respect of many aspiring entrepreneurs. He has started the Trump movement from scratch and despite all odds is very close to winning the Presidential election. His rallies across the United States attract thousands of people. We must engage proactively with his Administration and Republicans in Congress. We cannot afford to take offense at stupid comments and let them derail us from lobbying for our interests.

 

Debbie asks: Saba, Donald Trump has openly stated that “Islam hates us” – thereby creating an ‘us vs them’ narrative. He called for a Muslim ban and to surveil American Mosques? How do you reconcile this with your Muslim faith and the fact that you are a Muslim living in America? Is he clearly not telling you that you are unwelcome?

Saba responds: Focusing on negative statements will only hurt our community. Republicans have made me feel quite welcomed at all their events. We need to make sure they respect Islam just like any other faith by getting involved in their campaigns. I am usually the only one at my local Republican Meetings. We have recently launched the Republican Muslim Coalition to get Muslims involved in their local county and state GOP. We hope to have Republican Muslims in key electoral states get involved within their local Republican parties to help with various campaign events and fundraisers. Hope we will make strides in upcoming years. Inshallah!

Debbie Almontaser Makes Closing Statement

Update: 11/7/16 4:00pm Debbie sends closing statement

Dr. Debbie Almontaser Emerge USA National Board Member Many Muslims go into this election feeling real anxiety and trepidation over what the future holds. As a community, we have been far too slow to demonstrate our civic voice politically in America. In this election we have a unique opportunity to change that, the stakes are extremely high for us Muslims. The rise of Donald Trump has sent shock-waves through our communities and threatens the social fabric of this country. His continued verbal attacks against minority communities have become a constant theme in broader American public discourse – Islamophobic incidents have increased considerably over the past year, and xenophobic forces continue to find oxygen in his divisive rhetoric.

We have to carefully consider what kind of future we want for America. Donald Trump’s campaign has already shown us a snippet of what kind of future will be in store if he emerges victorious, his campaign of vitriol and hate has divided the entire nation already, and it will become a permanent feature of our society if he wins. Hillary Clinton is by no means a flawless candidate, but she has been inclusive of Muslims and indeed other minority communities throughout her career. And above all, Muslims have made considerable civic investments with Hillary Clinton over the decades, and these investments have over the course of the years yielded results and incremental progress. By helping her to pass the finish line in this election, Muslims stand to be in a brilliant position in American politics for decades to come. It is evident that the vast majority of Muslims who will vote are expected to vote for Hillary Clinton – it is important to remember that this is by no means a relationship that has been struck over night, it has been the result of a long period of steady engagement. To throw away that hard work and progress we have achieved with Clinton now by voting for Trump would simply be a backward step that harms our community.

There is simply nothing principled about voting for Trump, and nor is it principled to vote for a third party candidate if you know that Donald Trump will benefit from it. This is the election where we must vote with our heads and not our egos, as Muslims we have nothing to gain and much to lose if Donald Trump wins come Wednesday. Whereas with a Hillary Clinton victory, we can reasonably expect continuity with the things that are working on in our community and our society, and we will be in a strong position to leverage our influence on policy making at the highest levels.

A huge number of Muslims have the strategic benefit of living in swing states, that means that if Hillary Clinton wins, the chances are that Muslims will have played some role in her victory. What’s more, Donald Trump’s rhetoric has unquestionably unnerved America’s Muslims and it has led to a real sense of urgency among Muslims. Grassroots political activism has been unprecedented, and registration numbers have increased by over 300,000 since the 2012 elections. As Muslims, it is critical that we translate that activity into votes on Election Day. Muslims have never been the most civically engaged minority community in the US, our voice has often been too splintered to take seriously or ignored, but despite all of Trump’s vitriol against us we have a unique opportunity to unite our voice and thereby cement our place in America’s electoral fabric. If there is any good that could come out of the unpleasant rise of Donald Trump, then it should be that he has united our community as a single voice when it comes to issues surrounding our civic rights and our security in
wider American society. If Muslims do show up in force and help Clinton to victory, it would be more than just a statement of intent, it would make it clear that bigotry against any minority community is unacceptable in America and above all; it would create a more inclusive and diverse politics, one where Muslims are at the very core of influencing policy.

If Donald Trump wins the White House on the other hand, Muslims will be in a distinct disadvantage for the foreseeable future. We will have no leverage or influence on policy making, our voices will simply not be valued. Most importantly, we will witness the rise of a new wave of bigotry and hate that will inevitably translate into Islamophobia throughout America. As Muslims it is our duty to improve and be a part of our societies, to vote for Trump is to simply create more division and detachment for ourselves. Only by voting for Hillary Clinton can we continue to make our voices heard and be active members of our society. #ImWithHer

Saba Ahmed Makes Closing Statement

Update: 11/8/16 9:00am Saba Ahmed offers closing statement

Saba Ahmed is founder and president of the Republican Muslim Coalition. She tweets at @SabaRMCDonald Trump is the best choice for Muslim Americans this election primarily because it has brought our community to the forefront and our active engagement within his campaign and Administration can make all the difference in combatting Islamophobia. My opponent, Debbie hasn’t articulated why we should actually vote for Clinton. She just gave a list of reasons to vote against Donald Trump not necessarily voting for Clinton. In my closing statement, I’d like to focus on actual policy issues facing America that I believe are at the heart of this election.

Donald Trump’s 100-day action plan to Make America Great Again through his Contract with the American Voter includes cleaning up corruption and special interests in Washington DC, protecting American workers and restoring security and constitutional rule of law. He wants to protect the Constitution and Second Amendment and elect Conservative Supreme Court Judges who will uphold our liberties and freedoms.

Trump’s vision for our Economy is what gives me most hope about his Presidency. His plan creates 25 million new jobs over the next decade and reforms policies with a pro-growth tax plan. He wants to transform America’s crumbling Infrastructure by making substantial new investments in transportation, clean water, electricity grid, telecommunications and security infrastructure. His business background will definitely help him create thousands of new jobs in construction, manufacturing and other sectors spurring economic development in the United States. Trump wants to negotiate fair Trade deals that create American jobs, increase American wages and reduce America’s trade deficit. His 7 point plan to rebuild the American Economy by Fighting for Free Trade includes withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and appointing tough and smart trade negotiators to fight on behalf of the American workers. His Tax Plan reduces taxes across the board, especially for working and middle-income Americans who will receive a massive tax reduction. He wants to reform Child Care to provide six weeks of paid maternity leave and allow parents deductions on their taxes for children and elderly dependents.

Trump has brought Immigration reform to the forefront prioritizing jobs, wages and security of the American people. He wants to protect the economic well-being of lawful immigrants by curbing foreign worker admissions. He has a 10 point plan to put America First ensuring border security. Trump wants to make AmericaEnergy independent by creating millions of jobs in clear air and water initiatives thereby reducing our dependence on foreign oil. He wants to establish new screening procedures and enforce our immigration laws to keep terrorists out of the country

His Foreign Policy focuses on Defeating ISIS ensuring the security of the American people and working with Arab allies and friends in the Middle East. Peace through strength will advance America’s core national interests and promote regional stability. He wants to defeat the ideology of radical Islamic terrorism, which ensures that he needs our help to strongly condemn Muslims misusing the teachings of Islam. He wants to establish a Commission on Radical Islam to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of Radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization. He wants to strengthen federal laws suspending immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism. He wants to have a safe and secure America for everyone.

Trump wants to repeal and replace Obamacare with real Healthcare reform by providing health savings accounts (HSAs) and allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines. He wants to reform Education to provide school choice for millions of school aged children living in poverty. He wants to reformRegulations to ensure that we keep jobs and wealth in America by having a thorough agency review.

He wants to focus on National Defense by increasing the size of US Army to 540,000 active duty soldiers, rebuilding US Navy to 350 ships, providing US Air Force with 1200 fighter aircrafts and grown the US Marine Corps to 36 battalions. He wants to conduct a full audit of the Pentagon. He will address the growingCybersecurity threats facing our nation. And he wants to ensure our Veterans get the care they need whenever they need it through Comprehensive Veterans Affairs Reform. His 10 point plan to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs includes appointing VA Secretary to serve veterans. He wants to ensure mental health care for returning soldiers to prevent 22+ veteran suicides per day.

These are the real issues facing America this election year. I hope you will join me in supporting Donald J. Trump for President of the United States. Thank you and God Bless!

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